Monday, August 22, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon Race Report

I had a great race at the Timberman 70.3 this weekend.  There were some parts I'm really really pleased with, some I'm not so pleased with, and some I really wish had been better, but overall I have zero complaints and am quite pleased.  Here's how the whole weekend went....

Getting There and Settling In:

On Friday the girl and I drove up to New Hamshire with Cannon loaded on the roof of the car, the car full of camping gear, and the dog asleep in the back.  We were really looking forward to a fun weekend in NH.  What should have been about a three hour drive up there took us about six hours due to AWFUL thunderstorms in the area, torrential downpours, and even a hailstorm.  Ever sit in your car stuck in traffic helplessly listening to the sound of hail bouncing off the top of your carbon bike?  Yeah....  its not very much fun!  But we eventually made it up there, rushed through registration for the race to beat the saturday crowds and then made up our campsite and settled in with a quick dinner by the fire with some liquid carb loading.

Our campsite was pretty deluxe.  I borrowed a huge tent from a friend of mine and we had a queen size air mattress and then a 3" pillowtop mattress cover I had on top of that as well.  So our bed was SUPER comfy and I didn't regret camping one bit!  And on the plus side just about everyone around our campsite was a triathlete in the race so it was super quiet at night and very easy to sleep.  The facilities at the camground were quite good as well and it was a quick walk to clean showers, and bathrooms.  I'd definitely go that route again over a hotel room.

Saturday morning the girl made a fantastic breakfast on the camping stove and I spent the time cleaning all the road grit and grime off of Cannon, cleaning the chain, and relubing everything and giving the bike a once over to make sure the hail had not done any damage which fortunately it had not.  Then I got all my race numbers on the bike and everywhere else and we headed out for the day.
Cleaning up Cannon after the rain/hailstorm on the way up

I always cut up and stick my numbers to the frame.  I don't get why people buy super aerodynamic bikes and then let their race number flap around the top tube the whole race.

The "turkey" guarding our campsite.

Once we had all that sorted we headed off to Ellacoya State Park (the race venue) to get in a warmup swim.  The girl got in a nice long swim (she's getting ready for a three mile swim race shortly) and I hung out on the beach with the dog.  When she finished we traded places and I got a quick warmup swim in to check out the lake conditions.  It was suprisingly choppy (mostly due to lots of boat wakes) and I was hoping this wouldn't be the case on race day (it wasn't).  The water was nice and warm at 72 degrees and perfect in a wetsuit.  Very clear water as well and really nice to swim in.

With the warmup swim out of the way I headed out for a quick check ride on Cannon before racking the bike in transition.  That went without issue and then it was time to head back to camp for the day, get the rest of my gear ready for the race, eat some dinner and get to bed early.
Prepping Cannon for the check ride the day before the race/

Once back at camp the girl made one of my favorite and safe pre race meals.  Mac N Cheese in a Box with chicken sausage.  YUM!  And all made on the campfire!  After all that I was pretty tired so I went to bed at 8pm knowing that I had to be up at 3:30am in order to get a spot in the parking lot.  At the pre race meeting the day before they informed up that the parking lot would be full by 5AM or so, so I planned to arrive there around 4am so off to bed I went.

Race Day!:

I am very happy to say that I fell asleep almost immediately at 8pm the day before and didn't wake up till my alarm went off at 3:30AM.  Best pre race night of sleep I've ever had.  I felt great when I woke up and was ready to get the day going.  I got up, got right in the car and headed straight over to the parking area at Ellacoya.  At 3:45am there was already a large line of cars being funnelled into the race site.  I scored a fantastic parking spot right near transition and had the peace of mind that I had hours to get ready and didn't have to rush at all.  Transition didn't open till 5am so I first headed over the Gilford Fired Dept's food stand for a fantastic cup of coffee and then slowly started to get dressed for the race, eat my tried and true breakfast of two balance bars, and get ready to head into transition at 5am.  It was nice being able to take my time with all of that and I never felt rushed.  At 5AM I headed into transition and got my tires pumped up, and all my gear ready to go.  I was ready so early that I got to spend a lot of time wandering around transition chatting with friends of mine, checked out the pros bikes, and enjoyed watching them go about their routines just like we do.  Eventually it was time to get the wetsuit on and head over to the swim start to get a warmup in.  I found the girl and sat down at a picnic bench to relax for a bit as I had 40 minutes till my wave started.

Waiting for my wave to start and getting some friendly tips from a gentleman who had done the race last year.  I can also highly recommend petting your dog as a way to reduce stress pre race!

My hi-tech system of knowing where to go in transition.  It stands for...   from the swim in run past 7 bike racks then turn left.  And from the bike in run past three racks then turn left.

I was in the 7:50 Wave of 35-39ers in the lime green caps

Getting a quick warmup swim in.
Some of the Tri-NE gang racing.  Sean, Me, Jon, and Kevan.  Missing are Luis, Dean, and Jill.  It was great to have so many of us out there on the course!

So with the warmups and everything else done and out of the way it was go time!


On thursday of this week I completed my first 2.4 mile open water swim as part of my prep for the Ironman.  So part of me felt like 1.2 miles was going to feel really short and easy and part of me was worried my arms were still tired.  Well I was definitely tired!  When the swim started my heartrate spiked pretty quickly.  So I spent the first part of the swim heading out to the first turn buoy just trying to relax and find a rhythm.  I found some feet and just followed them for a while.  After the turn the water got a bit more choppy and I wasn't swimming as straight as I would have liked, but I felt ok...  tired but ok.  I had originally hope to really push my pace at this point but I just felt like I didn't have that in me so I just settled into my pace.  As I approached the last turn buoy the wave behind me of young guys caught me.  They were all pretty agressive and I got pummelled at this point.  Lots of leg grabbing and bumping.  I pushed through it best as I could and rounded the last turn buoy nice and wide to avoid the mess.  On the way in I brushed up against an orange cap dude who was an ass and very aggressive.  Apparently nobody ever brushed up against him as he got pretty rough and pushed/punched me right in the left hip.  Apparently I was crossing in front of him and he wasn't happy about it.  Whatever...   I just kept swimming.  At this point I was ready for the swim to end.  It hadn't felt short at all and my arms were tired.  When I got out of the water and looked at my watch I was pretty surprised.  I knew I wasn't fast today, but I was surprised to see how slow I was.  43 minutes?!?!?!?!  WTF!!!  I did my 2.4 mile swim the other day at a 2:00/100 pace in 1:25.  I went slow that day as I had no idea how to pace an effort that long.  I think I can realistically swim a 1:20 for my ironman if all goes well.  So to see 43 minutes for 1.2 was pretty bad.  I was expecting 36-40 minutes.  But whatever...  time to focus on the rest of the day....  In reality my swim time was the only real dissapointment of the day, and in the grand scheme it was pretty minor.

TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (43:40) 2:05/100y

T1:  T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 1:59

T1 went pretty quick for me.  There was a decent length run to get to my bike from the water and I did my best to really RUN that part.  I took advantage of the wetsuit strippers and then headed to my bike.  Quick transition there and I was off and ready to really have at the bike course.

My plan for the bike was to aim for a 2:45.  I wanted a SOLID bike that was well paced and on target power wise.  I had to decided to pace by power and cadence alone as thats been working really well for me.  The plan was to average 160 watts and an average cadence of 90.  My FTP is currently 207 Watts so 160 is well within reach even on zero taper.  I've also felt great on the bike lately so I was hoping for good things.  This was the first race of any length that I've done without having riden or driven the bike course before.  So despite having the guidance from friends that had seen it I was going to just have to take as it came.  I knew the rough profile though and had a plan to spin the climbs nice and easy at a max of 200 steady watts and stay within myself and hammer everything else.  And I stuck to plan I'm happy to say.  The bike was pretty uneventfull with the exception of being bummed that most of the downhills were really crowded for me so it made bombing down them in aero near impossible as there were lots of nervous people drifting so far left you had to cross the centerline to pass them and with oncoming traffic that wasn't an option.  I spent a LOT of time YELLING "ON YOUR LEFT!!!!" at 35-45 mph as loud as I could.  Made for some scary descending a couple of times.  I did hit 45 on the one big descent but I think I could have gone faster if there weren't people in the way.

Only other points of interest on the bike were that I totally blew an aid station and despite two attempts to grab water I failed (I was going too fast) so I spent ten miles with no water which I could have stopped to go get but decided to just press on and get the next stop.  Fortunately that didn't come back to bite me.

All in all I really enjoyed the bike course.  It was crowded and three wide quite often with people trying to pass each other.  Starting in such a late wave meant I had people to pick off all day long on the course so that was good and bad.  But for the most part good.  At the turnaround I checked my average speed (first time I'd looked at it all day!) and PSYCHED to see it at close to 20!  I really wanted an average of over 20 for the first time for this distance so I pushed as hard as I could on the way back.  Here's how it all shook out...
BIKE SPLIT 1: 27.2 mi 27.2 mi (1:22:13) 19.85 mi/h

BIKE SPLIT 2: 56 mi 28.8 mi (1:24:50) 20.37 mi/h

TOTAL BIKE 56 mi (2:47:03) 20.11 mi/h

I'm pretty damn happy with that!  I hit my wattage target, and just barely missed my hope of 2:45 for the bike course.  Considering I'd just ridden 80 miles on tuesday, and over 200 miles the week before I'm VERY VERY happy with that.  Definitely the best part of my day!

Some other numbers of interest to look at...

Average Power: 154 Watts
Normalized Power: 167
Intensity Factor: .81 (EXACTLY what I wanted)
Elevation Gain: 2400 Ft.
Avg Speed 20.11mph

The above numbers are exactly what my race plan called for and I'm really excited to set a realistic goal based on trainign and testing, and then NAIL it in practice.  And MOST importantly I then went on to feel good on the run.  I experienced something on this bike course I haven't before, and that was the sensation that I'm approaching my peak bike fitness for the season and that all this time I've spent riding lately has really paid off.  I'm really excited to see whats going to happen on the B2B bike course.  This race was certainly a great sign of things to come.

T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 1:45

T2 was nice and easy.  Feet out of the shoes, nice dismount and off on the run course in no time.  Time for the fun part!
Heading into T2
The Girl was an amazing cheering squad and put some great signs out on the bike course that were great for a laugh and a smile!  One of her other signs that was a favorite was "Save a Bike, Ride a Triathlete!"  I loved having her to share the race with!  She was an amazing support group and put up with my freakshow pre race self!

The Run!:

The run was once again not what I wanted it to be.  Which is not due to nutrition or bike pacing or anything else.  I actually felt pretty good on the run.  But my right leg issue is still there and just isn't going to go away.  Its a frustrating limiter.  It just doesn't want to let me run much faster than 8:30s for any length of time.  The run course was also quite challenging.  It rolls throughout with a pretty decent steep hill at around mile 4 of the two lap course.  The first time up the hill it was a shocker... the second time it was BRUTAL!  I felt pretty good on the first loop, and not as good, but decent on lap 2.  For a while I thought I might hold a sub 8 minute pace, but that didn't last much past the first few miles.  It was REALLY HOT out there.  Which led me to make some odd choices!  There were volunteers handing out ice which was to be used to cool youself with.  I was so hot I decided I just didn't care and put it in my mouth.  Hec, I've eaten worse I'm sure!  But the Make A Wish foundation folks handing out giant ice cold towels are my absolute heroes!  Those were amazing and I held onto mine for the whole race and kept it cool by putting ice and the "snowballs" they were handing out which were fantastic.  I shoved ice in places I never though I'd put it before.  Anything to keep cool.  It was interesting comparing notes with my friends after the race...  we all definitely hit some tough spots out there and were all suffering in the heat.  You can see the suffering and some of the goofy things I did to keep cool in the pictures that follow...

Heading out on Lap 1 of the run feeling good!
heading out on Lap 2 feeling HOT!!!
Yeah!  Finish Chute Sprint!
The highlight of my day...   World Record Holder Chrissie Wellington putting the finishers medal around my neck!  What a class act this woman is!

Here's the run splits that tell the rest of the story as my pace slowed....

RUN SPLIT 1: 3.275 mi 3.275 mi (26:26) 8:04/mi

RUN SPLIT 2: 6.55 mi 3.275 mi (27:47) 8:29/mi

RUN SPLIT 3: 9.825 mi 3.275 mi (29:56) 9:08/mi

RUN SPLIT 4: 13.1 mi 3.275 mi (27:49) 8:29/mi

TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi (1:51:58) 8:32/mi


All in all though I can't complain.  I managed a 5:26:xx on zero taper after the biggest build month of my life getting ready for the ironman.  I've put in HUGE volume lately, 17 hour trianing weeks and then to have a race like I did yesterday with no taper makes me very happy.  Just another step on the way to the Ironman.  I have no complaints, had a great day on the course with my friends and a great weekend with the girl even if the severe weater in NH meant we packed up the campsite a day early and rushed home to escape it yesterday.

Me, The Girl, and Sunni after the race
Kevan, Sean and I cooling off in the lake post race.  Felt Great!

As much as I wish I could get to the point of being able to think about going sub 5 for a half some day I know I just need to wait until maybe next season to aim for such a thing.  I am just going to have to hope that some time off and dedicated strength training and rehab work over the winter will bring my right leg back to last year's running form.  In reality its already starting to feel like its improving but its on the ragged edge of getting worse so I've been babying it quite a bit lately and being really smart about my run volume.  When I look back at this race and think about what I could have done better (other than obviously tapering for it) I think I could get my swim time better by 3-5 minutes, and if my run form would come back then theres another 15 minutes back.  So thats an improvement by up to 20 minutes which gets me back on the edge of thinking about sub 5 again.  For now thats just a dream, but its a fun one to think about.  Time to shift focus now to B2B.  I probably won't race another half this year, although I'm considering using the FIRMMAN half iron as a full distance ironman pace excercise.  Not sure about that one yet. 

Next up this week is a much needed recovery week.  I'm off ot Raleigh for the week with work so I'm going to plan on doing nothing for 2 days, then some yoga/stretching for a couple of days and then ease into some light spins on hotel bikes and short runs, and some easy swims in the pool and then start another big build period when I get back next week.  Timberman definitely showed me that I'm on track for where I want to be this season and I'm very pleased overall.  Good things are definitely on the horizon!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Timberman 70.3 Race Plan

So I'm racing the Timberman 70.3 Half Ironman this weekend.  However I've been very much focused on training for the B2B full length ironman so I haven't tapered at all.  In fact I did an 80 mile ride on tuesday, have run 7 miles twice this week, and swam three times already including my first 2.4 mile open water swim yesterday.  I'm taking today (friday) and saturday before the race off however.  So I have an extremely abbreviated taper.  I did however skip my long run last weekend to rest my legs a bit before this race.  So the race will be more of a supported training day for me, but that doesn't mean I can't have some goals.

So here's the race plan....


-NAVIGATE BETTER!  after missing the first turn buoy and having to go back for it in the sun at the Amica 70.3 I'm determined not to make that very time costly mistake again.
-Have a faster non / wetsuit swim.  I think its HIGHLY likely that the swim will not be wetsuit legal, and if thats the case I want to beat my Amica swim time by 5 minutes or so.  I'd like to be as close to 40 minutes as possible without a wetsuit, and in the mid thirties with one.
-I want to swim at my usual pace for 1/2 the swim and really pick it up on the way in and push myself like I know that I can once I've settled into a rhythm.  I pace too conservatively in the water and I know I can do a little bit better.

-I have no idea whats left in my legs after the many many miles I've poured on in the last few weeks, but next week is a recover week so I want to go all out and see what happens.  My goal bike split is a 2:45.  Faster is better, sub 3 is a must, and faster than 2:45 is a dream.  I kind of want to crush the bike and see what it does to my run.  I suspect I don't have the ability to bike so fast that I hurt my run at this point.  Unless I do really stupid things and stand up through all the climbs or mash in a cadence of sub 80.  I'm going to use the power meter to focus and push myself.  I'm just going to stare at cadence (goal of 90), power (goal of 160-170 avg), and keep a loose eye on heartrate as an indicator I'm not getting into the red.

-once again this is going to be a wait and see what happens in the race kind of thing.  My running is still somewhat strained and I just don't have the ability to go fast still.  I miss the days of thinking I'll average mid 7's on the run.  But every race I try harder and my goal is to average 8s, however I think 8:30s is more likely.  But I'm going to push and see what happens.  If it starts to hurt then I need to remember B2B is my main goal and dial it down to high 8s, low 9s and enjoy the day.

Overall time goals....   Again this is going to be a big range as its all going to come down to whats left in my legs after all this training.  Which may not be much!  So I'll say 5:12-5:40.  I'll be happy with 5:30, and very pleased with anything less than that.  But no matter what I'm going to enjoy it!  I'm really looking forward to a weekend with the girl, the dog, and all my tri friends.  Its going to be great fun!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Numbers as titles week continues....

I just got back from an awesome pool workout.  So awesome I feel compelled to write about it...

I've been increasing my volume in all three sports as I get ready for the Ironman.  My current longest distances in each discipline are...

Swim 2.2 Miles
Bike 101 Miles
Run 13 Miles.

The swim will increase to 3 miles before the IM, the bike to 120, and the run will likely stay parked at 13 unless my legs suddenly recover.  I've decided the gains to be had from running further are going to be outweighed by the stress on my already not fabulous leg and that its going to hamper the rest of my training.   I know I can run 26.2 miles...   I've already done it twice this year.  So the extra distance is going to come from my fitness and from my mind.

But I digress!  This is about a pool workout...

According to my training plan this is a reduced volume swim training week or swim "recovery" week.  So my pool sessions get 1200yds shorter from 3700yds to 2500yds which takes them from 90 minutes to closer to 50 minutes.  So I was already pretty chipper heading to the pool this morning thinking that the workout would be over nice and quickly.  Todays workout was as follows...

400 WU
Ladder at race intensity with 15 seconds rest between reps aiming for consistent effort.
300 CD

The other day in the pool I swam next to someone just a little bit faster than me and really turned myself inside out to keep up with them.  I felt awesome after that workout and was psyched I had really pushed myself.  So I decided I was going to do the same today.  No swimming the ladder at super easy lazy pace.  So I went for it.

My average pace lately has varied quite a bit.  During the long 3700yd workouts with lots of 300s and 500s in them my pace has been closer to 2:10/100.  Ugh!  Slow!  But a lot of that has been from the fatigue of these long workouts or fear of not getting through the workout if I push too hard.  Its also because I just haven't been pushing myself as much as I'd like.  Today however was going to be different.

Coming off a much needed day off I went into the workout with a great mindset.  I went through my easy 400 warmup feeling the same way it always does.  Its funny, but no matter how much pool work I put in that first 50 always feels awful.  It always feels like I should give up and I can't swim.  I always have to mentally push through it and finish the rest of the 400 to find my rhythm.

Ok...   60 seconds rest before the ladder starts.  If the goal is an even pace through how fast do I swim the 50?  Hmmm....   fast.  Lets go for it.

The ladder went like this...

50-fast, but not too fast cause we need to try and match this pace for the whole set!
100-Uh Oh...   have I set too fast a pace?
150-relax, but hold the same pace, relax but hold the pace
200-Crap...  I'm gonna blow up...  no way I can hold this pace.
250-was that really 15 seconds of rest... no way!  Felt more like 2!  Crap I'm tired.
300-longest set of the ladder... GO!  PUSH!  HARDER!!!  3 more laps to go?  WTH!  HARDER!!
250-downward slope!  We got this!
200-getting tired.....     had to sprint the last 50 out of fear I'd slowed down too much
150-3 laps...  easy peasy
100-lets try and really go stupid hard
50-ALL OUT!  LETS GO!!!!

At the end of it I was completely obliterated.  Mission accomplished!  Now by real swim standards my pace is pathetically slow...   but considering I'd been doing these ladders at 2:10/100 pace lately I was pretty damn happy to hold 1:50/100 pace for almost the entire set.  I think the 300 was a little bit slower at closer to 1:55/100 but still thats 15-20 seconds faster per 100 for the whole set.  THAT is a small victory.  And putting together small victories in training is what gives me confidence to go hard on race day.  So here's to the small victories!  Oh...  FYI...   my open water pace in a wetsuit lately has been 1:55/100 so to beat that in the pool on a set that was close to the same total distance as the 1.1 mile swim I did the other day at 1:55/100 is pretty damn good!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Apparently the theme for this week is that every post has to be titled with a number.  So today's title is 101.  Which is the number of miles I rode my bike for yesterday.  This was in fact my first century ride...

Here's how it went...

The plan:  I was only supposed to ride somewhere around 90 miles in zones 1-2 according to my training plan.  However I have this irrational fear of distances.  And 90 seemed awfully close to 100.  And whats an extra ten miles right?  Why not get the confidence of getting that first 100 mile ride behind me.  So 100 miles became the goal.  I created a 50.8 mile route on map my ride and downloaded it to my Garmin Edge 800 so I could follow the course with that and not have to worry about directions.  I decided to base the route of a recent ride I did with a friend of mine in Little Compton / Westport / Dartmouth area and ride two loops.

So with that done it was time to get ready.  I often find it amazing how much extra time it takes to get ready for big workouts.  Checking the weather, prepping your bike, getting your clothes ready, and mixing up all your nutrition takes a significant amount of time.  But with all that done it was time to go to bed and await the uncertainly of my first century ride.  I went to bed thinking about how to pace it...   never having ridden for just under six hours before I had no idea and really did NOT want to blow up in the middle of the ride.


Tuesday morning I got up, ate breakfast, drank some coffee, read some slowtwitch and when I'd finally run out of excuses and coffee I loaded up the car and headed out to go ride.  I had brillianty decided to start my ride from Gray's Ice Cream in Little Compton, RI so that I'd have a lovely post ride reward!  I'm smart like that sometimes.

I loaded up the bike with a bottle of water, and my one calorie bottle loaded with 1500 calories worth of a mix of Hammer Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, Gatorade, and water that makes a delicious fruity paste full of energy.  I then stuffed two extra water bottles in my bike jersey to get me through the first 50 mile loop and off I went.

I'd forgotten how hilly the last ten miles of the ride I had just done that I based this route off of.  Apparently I'd put that part of the route in my first ten miles.  So I had to contend with ten miles of rollers right out of the gate.  I kept a VERY close eye on my wattage at this point as I really didn't want to run out of gas on my ride.  So I kept a wattage ceiling of 240 watts and tried to climb at 200 watts whenever possible.  Nice and easy.  My plan was not to set any speed or power records today.  The goal was just to cover the distance feeling comfy, try and stay aero as much as possible and get it done.  So my power goal was to average 140 watts and look for an average speed between 17-18mph.  Just a bit below goal race pace for the ironman.

Five miles into my day I hear the nasty sound of my rear tire going flat....   so ten minutes later I'm up and going again without issue.  Fortunately the five miles of riding and the sun had the rear tire nice and loose so it wasn't bad getting it on and off.  Psychologically a flat at 5 miles into a century wasn't fabulous.  But what can you do but change it and get going again.

After the first ten miles the next 30 or so miles are fantastic.  Fairly flat, or lots of false flats, super gentle descents.  So I made up a lot of time and for the slow speeds on the climbs here.  There are some great roads in that area with decent conditions and not a lot of traffic.  I was enjoying staying aero, focusing on drinking lots of fluids and making sure I was taking in enough of my calorie bottle.  At around the 30 mile mark I began to wonder if I could survive 100 miles on my saddle.  I was starting to get quite sore, but fortuantely for me by mile 40 that seemed to have worked itself out and I was comfy again.

Somewhere around mile 40 is where I had changed the route from what I had ridden before.  I did it blindly knowing nothing about the roads I'd chosen other than that roads in the area are generally pretty great.  Well I sadly chose some rougher roads that slowed me down and shook me a lot, but I got through them ok.  The last ten miles also had a couple of nasty climbs in it and some more rollers.  But at least I knew the car and the end of my first lap was almost there.

Once at the car I got ride of my empty bottles, blown tube and other trash, restocked on fluids and got going again.  I hit the lap button on my bike computer so I could try and negative split the ride which was my goal.  Or at the very least even split the ride and not fall apart at the end.  I caught a nice second wind and almost but not quite enjoyed the ten miles of rollers.  Once onto the flat roads again I felt pretty good till around mile 70 or so.  30 Miles to go...   little less than 2 hours and my stomach was starting to feel weird and I was getting a headache.  Not sure what that was all about...   but I suspect nutrition.  I started to really crave gatorade.  Maybe for the sodium, or maybe the sugar?  I passed  a gas station not long after that and stopped in to get some.  The cold gatorade tasted AMAZING considering it was close to 80 degrees out and sunny for most of my route.  I immediately perked up which makes me think I need to change up my nutrition as I don't have it quite right yet.

I downed the first 20oz bottle of gatorade very very quickly and loaded up the second one to get through the rest of the ride with.  Once I hit about 3/4 of the way there the rest of the miles really started to drag.  I just kept an eye on the power and cadence numbers and tried to keep up my effort level.  There was some construction I'd hit around mile 40 on the first lap that had a policman directing traffic I'd chatted with as I went by.  He looked pretty surprised to see me again three hours later.  It was pretty funny.  Other than that the rest wasn't too eventfull.  I enjoyed watching the miles tick by as I got closer and had a huge smile when I watched the 99 tick over into a 100!  I'd done it!  One more mile of easy pedalling back to the car and I could get an ice cream!

Of course turns out after that effort my stomach wasn't sure what it wanted... and I wasn't sure it wanted ice cream.  Then I get to the window and they have 1,000 choices and I cant decide so I paniced and just got some lime sorbet.  Which was great...   but not perfect. 

So how did I do?  Lets look at the numbers....

Lap Distance 50.8 Miles per Lap.

Lap 1: 2:56:46 135 Watt Avg 17.3 mph avg
Lap 2: 2:56:40 140 Watt Avg 17.3 mph avg

So I managed to negative split the laps by six seconds and keep a dead even average for the entire 100 miles. Wattage wise there was a nasty headwind that kicked up for Lap 2 which is why the same speed cost me five more watts.  Overall I'm quite pleased.  I rode within myself and didn't go crazy so I didn't fall apart.  I've put in a TON of hours training lately so 140 watts isn't much, but its a decent effort for the amount of strength left in my legs currently after a very busy week of training and riding 70 miles only a few days before.  I also learned some great lessons from this ride.

1.  That my goal to average between 18-19mph for the B2B is realistic and will leave me with some energy for the run.
2.  That my nutrition isn't 100% dialed in, but I did do great with water consumption and timing of finishing the calorie bottle.
3.  Pacing by wattage and cadence is definitely the answer.  I'll also keep a loose eye on heart rate as well.  I spent the whole ride trying to be at 140 Watts at a cadence of 90.  Worked great.
4.  That I can currently spend about 5 out of 6 hours in aero.  More will come with time.
5.  That I still can't for the life me wrap my head around having to run a marathon after riding 112 miles.  I need to work on that one.

All in all a great ride and I'm glad I have that first long one behind me.  Today is a much needed day off before the rest of the week's training.  I'm definitely still feeling a little tired from yesterday, but otherwise feel pretty good.

Oh and speaking of loosely looking at heart rate.  I often pay closer attention to it post ride to make sure I'm staying in the zones I should be.  My goal for this ride was to spend most of it in Zone 2.  Which for me is about 150 Watts or so of power and 130 bpm heart rate.  Heres the chart from training peaks showing my nice and even heart rate stuck solidly in zone 2 for six hours. : )

Sunday, August 7, 2011


17 hours of training this week!  Its definitely time to get very very serious about the Ironman and my focus is peaking right alonside my fitness.  Things are good on the training front.  Which isn't to say it isn't without issues and obstacles...   but things are still good and moving in the right direction.

Here's some snippets of how the week went...


I started the week with a strong statement as to my dedication and mental strength.  I was still in LA on Monday which was the scheduled take down day or "strike" of the event.  So I worked a very long fairly physical morning from 7am-1pm and then went to grab some lunch before heading to the hotel gym.  It was time to get my long ride in.  Fortunately this hotel had a decent gym in it complete with a spin studio which I've never seen in a hotel before.  So I sat down on the bike, turned on the tunes and started pedalling.  My plan for a nice long sustained even effort for three hours.  Something right around mid to high zone 2 heartrate.  Fortunately the spin studio was air conditioned to very cold temperatures but it still wasn't long before there was a giant puddle of sweat under the bike.  There was a mirror to my right and when I looked at myself I could see steam rising from my head and back from my bodyheat when it met the cold air conditioning.  I figured that was a sign I was working nice and hard.  Spin bikes have no computers on them so my only guage to effort was heart rate and perceived excertion.  The first hour passed pretty quickly... but hour two is where it starts to get hard.  You look at the clock on the wall and only a minute has passed since the last time you looked and you still have almost two hours left to go.  You just have to take your mind someplace else and just focus enough to keep the effort up.  I always save the best tricks for the last hour.  Thats where the positive reinforcements and the good day dreams go.  Thats when I start picturing crossing the finish line of the Ironman and the people that will be there and what that moment will be like.  Those thoughts can get me through anything.  After three hours it was time to hop on the treadmill for a quick 20 minute transition run and then I was DONE!  Great workout and I felt like a mental GIANT after completing that.  Little mental victories like this get filed away...   and when things get hard I can remind myself that I can ride for three hours without going anywhere... and if I can do that I can do ANYTHING!


Sit in airplanes all day on the way home.


Wednesday was a hard day.  It started early (or at least as I early as I could get going considering I was still on west coast time) in the pool for a 3700yd workout of kick drills, intervals, and all sorts of other fun.  The main set consisted of a 7x300 on 30 seconds rest at race pace.  And if that wasn't enough to kick my butt that was followed with a 10x50 sprint set on 15 seconds rest right when I had nothing left in the tank.  I left the pool feeling totally zonked!  Mission accomplished...   then it was home for some lunch and a bit of rest and then out on the bike for an hour of intervals followed by a sixty minute run.  A bit much for one day but I have to make up for the missed day spent in airplanes.  I was DEFINITELY ready for bed at the end of that day!


70 mile ride at a nice steady effort with some nice chatty bits and some nice stretches of serious effort and nice amount of time spent in aero.  Plenty of rollers to keep the legs busy and plenty of flats to get focused on the style of riding I'll need for the B2B.  I really liked the area we rode in as I think it will approximate the B2B course really well so I plan to ride out there a lot.


Sixty minute run focusing on form and trying to stay pain / discomfort free.  Not there yet but I'm learning what works and what doesn't.


2 x 1.10 mile swims for a total of 2.2 miles.  I did two loops of the GVP dock swim and only paused at the beach between loops to make sure a friend of mine was doing ok who was having a bit of a rough day in the water.  And then from the pond it was off to Providence for a nice two hour 30 mile ride full of sharp little climbs that never seemed to end.


Rock and Roll Half Marathon.  I decided it was in my best interest to treat this as my regular weekly long run and not go out and do anything stupid.  Its all about the B2B.  Last year I put this race on my calendar so I could see what I could do in a half marathon.  My PR at this distance (1:35) was set in a half ironman length triathlon as I've never actually raced this distance.  So I was hoping to race this one...   but with everything going on with my right leg I decided to enjoy the day instead and take it easy.  So I ran the entire race with another team mate whose plan was to go just under two hours.  PERFECT!  In the end I felt better at the end of that run that I have at the end of any long run in weeks.  So that was promising.  Still not perfect but I felt pretty good out there today.  Definitely not my old self, and definitely not ready to go fast yet...  but at least it felt better than usual.  I felt encouraged today.

So all that adds up to 17 hours of training.  Not too shabby!  This week is going to be another big week complete with some long rides, long runs, and long swims...   its all about the Ironman!

And speaking of the Ironman...   I don't know how people lose weight training for one of these.  I need to work on my food discipline because all this training makes want to do nothing but eat, eat, eat!  I just need to focus on putting good quality foods in my belly.

Another good week in the bank and hopefully another one ahead....    two weeks to go to the Timberman Half Ironman triathlon (which I'm training right through) and 12 to go till B2B.  (not that I'm counting!!)